by Ida Kar
2 1/4 inch square film negative, 1959
Sitterback to top
- Helen Lessore (1907-1994), Artist; founder of Beaux Arts Gallery. Sitter in 9 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Ida Kar (1908-1974), Photographer. Artist or producer associated with 1567 portraits, Sitter in 137 portraits.
This portraitback to top
When published in the Tatler, the accompanying caption read: 'Mrs Lessore hopes and believes that her artists, in time, will be considered the greatest in the country'.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Freestone, Clare (appreciation) Wright, Karen (appreciation), Ida Kar Bohemian Photographer, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 10 March to 19 June 2011), p. 97 Read entry
Born in London into a Jewish family, Lessore studied at the Slade School of Art (1924-8). In 1931 she became secretary at the Beaux Arts Gallery, whose director was the sculptor Frederick Lessore. They married in 1934, and she took over the directorship upon his death in 1951. Helen Lessore commented that the fact she was an artist 'put me on the side of the artist, rather than of anyone else'. The Tatler & Bystander caption for a variant pose published in the story 'A Gallery of Names that mean Galleries' stated: 'Mrs Lessore hopes and believes that her artists will in time be considered the greatest in the country ... besides Bratby [his paintings can be seen in the background] she shows paintings by Middleditch, Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach and Sheila Fell - realist painters all. Mrs Lessore comments: "I do not find abstract art satisfying."’ Many of Lessore's artists gained distinguished reputations. The work of Walter Sickert, about which Lessore first wrote in 1932, was a constant at the Beaux Arts Gallery until its cIosure in 1965.
Events of 1959back to top
Current affairsHarold Macmillan wins the general election with an increased majority, returning to office as Conservative prime minister. The victory was the result of perceived economic improvement under the Conservative government, and his (misquoted) boast: 'you've never had it so good.' During his premiership he earned the nickname 'Supermac', coined by cartoonist, Victor 'Vicky' Weisz.
Art and scienceClaudia Jones organises the first West Indian-style carnival in the country, starting the tradition of the annual Notting Hill carnival. The event was a response to the race riots of 1958, and an attempt to celebrate West Indian culture and help overcome racial prejudice by giving the whole community the opportunity to join in the event.
InternationalFidel Castro becomes leader of Cuba. After defeating the American-backed Batista government, Castro's revolutionary army arrived in Havana on 8th January where Castro proclaimed himself Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Within a month, Prime Minister José Miró Cardona had resigned, and Castro took over.
In Tibet, an uprising against Chinese rule is brutally crushed, and the Dalai Lama flees to India, beginning his long exile.
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